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Talking Points

A snapshot of Houston's demographic and economic growth for a quick reference guide of the regional economy | Q2/23
Published on 8/7/23
Talking Points Handout Q2-23


  • 7.3 million people live in the nine-county Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA.
  • The Houston metro is the nation's fifth most populous metro area.
  • Metro Houston has more residents than Tennessee, Massachusetts, and 34 other states.
  • The City of Houston has 2.3 million residents, fourth most in the U.S.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Houstonians are foreign born.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2021 American Community Survey


  • Fifteen foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices in Houston, and the region has 39 active foreign chambers of commerce.
  • Cargo activity at the Houston Ship Channel supported 1.5 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs across the state of Texas
  • Houston’s two international airports service 193 nonstop destinations, including 127 domestic and 66 international.
  • The Houston-Galveston Customs District handled $390.1 billion in trade in '22, $133.7 billion in imports and $256.5 billion in exports.
  • Port Houston is the largest container port on the Gulf Coast.
  • Over 5,000 Houston companies are doing business abroad.
  • More than 1,700 Houston companies report foreign ownership.
  • Eighty-eight nations have consular representation in Houston, the third-largest representation in the U.S.
  • Seventeen foreign banks from 9 nations are located in Houston.


  • If Houston were an independent nation, the region would have the 26th largest economy in the world, behind Belgium and ahead of Thailand.
  • Since 2001, real GDP in the Houston region has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 2.3 percent.


  • Houston is the seventh largest metro economy in the U.S.
  • Twenty-six Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Houston, the third most among U.S. metros.


  • There are 3.4 million jobs in the Houston MSA.
  • The Health, Education, and Business & Professional Services industries account for over 1 in 4 jobs in the region.
  • The goods-producing sector accounts for nearly 1 in 6 jobs.


  • The Texas Medical Center is the world's largest medical complex

Digital Technology & Innovation

  • Houston is home to 9,100 tech-related firms, including more than 1,000 venture-backed startups.
  • Houston employs more than 81,830 workers in computer and mathematical occupations.  
  • Nearly 70,450 engineers, architects, and related techs work in Houston. 


  • Houston’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) has served as mission control for U.S. space exploration and astronaut training since 1961.
  • More than 500 aviation and aerospace-related companies operate in Houston, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Demography Economy
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